PM inaugurates howitzer factory in Surat, rides war tank

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated L&T howitzer factory in Surat’s Hazira and took a ride on the K9 Vajra 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH). Apart from the Prime Minister, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was also present on the occasion.

“Checking out the tanks at L&T’s Armoured Systems Complex in Hazira,” he said in the tweet. The Indian Army inducted two howitzers including the Larsen and Toubro (L&T) built K9 Vajra after a gap of three decades. The two guns will also take part in the Republic Day parade on January 26. With a range of 38 km, K9 Vajra is built by L&T in collaboration with a South Korean firm. The contract for the howitzer system was initiated by the BJP government after it came to power in 2014. The development of the system was completed in two years.

“I congratulate the entire team of Larsen & Toubro for building the state-of-the-art K-9 Vajra Self Propelled Howitzer. This is a significant contribution towards India’s defence sector and protecting the country… Had the privilege of inaugurating the Larsen and Toubro Armoured Systems Complex in Hazira, Gujarat. Boosting ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector is our endeavour. I am glad that the private sector too is supporting this pursuit and making a valuable contribution,” he said in a series of tweets.

The system is expected to play a significant role in boosting the capabilities of the Indian Army. Last year, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had inducted the M-777 howitzer and K9 Vajra into the Indian Army. According to reports citing officials, the Hazira facility is the first facility of its kind built by the private sector of the country.